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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll keep this short.

A few days ago I was inspecting hives. The next hive in line began to swarm. I watched them. Here's what they did:

They pitched in a nearby pine tree first. Then, they returned to the original box.

Then they swarmed again and pitched in a different pine tree. After being in that tree for a little while, they moved into a mating nuc with a virgin queen in it.

Then they swarmed again and pitched in a pine tree. Then they moved back into the mating nuc and haven't left since.

This happened over a period of 2 days.

None of my queens are clipped, only marked.

What would make them do this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
mating flights orientation
I understand that mating flights include the queen and that orientation flights include young bees on their first flight. Neither of these, as I understand, include a group of bees leaving the hive together and pitching as a cluster in a tree.

The bees swarmed from one box, then went back, then swarmed again and moved into a mating nuc. Then they swarmed from the mating nuc, pitched in a tree, then went back into the mating nuc.

I don't understand how this is the same as mating flights or orientation flights.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
 

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I bet they need more room than a mating nuc pretty quick. I would give them a better home. Have you checked to see if you have eggs being laid or a queen in the hive the swarm came from? As to why they did it, I just don't know and can only say, the bees do strange inexplicable things! Often.
 

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where did the virgin come from...perhaps the hive next door? how bid is the mating nuc, sounds like afterswarming, mating flights.
 

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I think if you have bees that act like nuts you have to treat them like nuts. Shake them all in to a deep or a couple of mediums and give them a frame of brood and walk away. They will either grow out of their adolescences or pay the price.
 

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What would make them do this?
Who knows? I would certainly not be shaking any bees anywhere. It would have been interesting to know which queen they ultimately ended up with. But as you said, the queens aren't marked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
where did the virgin come from...perhaps the hive next door? how bid is the mating nuc, sounds like afterswarming, mating flights.
The virgin was in the mating nuc that they moved into. The cell she came from was taken from a hive next to it, but those hives are 100ft from the hive that swarmed. Essentially, a swarm from a hive moved into a mating nuc 100ft away.

I had been watching the hive that swarmed for a while. On all of my other hives, I have been doing what I can to prevent swarming. On this one, I decided to leave them alone to see what they would do. They only made a couple of cells at first, which made me think they might be superseding. As their swarm preps went on, the queen stopped laying (which I understand they do in preparation for swarming, not sure though). After the swarm, I opened the mother hive and saw a virgin plus a few more cells. She was being attacked by the workers. I left the cells and helped the virgin away from her attackers (they probably jumped on her again though). We'll just see what happens.

It was a relatively small swarm, so hopefully I can still get a surplus off the mother hive this year.

It sure was interesting to watch. I figure that what I lose in honey from this hive I'll make up for in learning more about bees.


I think if you have bees that act like nuts you have to treat them like nuts. Shake them all in to a deep or a couple of mediums and give them a frame of brood and walk away. They will either grow out of their adolescences or pay the price.
I'm not sure what this would accomplish :scratch:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Who knows? I would certainly not be shaking any bees anywhere. It would have been interesting to know which queen they ultimately ended up with. But as you said, the queens aren't marked.
Luckily, that queen was marked. I try to keep my queens marked, but not clipped. So I'll be able to see where she ended up.
 

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:kn:
The virgin was in the mating nuc that they moved into. The cell she came from was taken from a hive next to it, but those hives are 100ft from the hive that swarmed. Essentially, a swarm from a hive moved into a mating nuc 100ft away.

I had been watching the hive that swarmed for a while. On all of my other hives, I have been doing what I can to prevent swarming. On this one, I decided to leave them alone to see what they would do. They only made a couple of cells at first, which made me think they might be superseding. As their swarm preps went on, the queen stopped laying (which I understand they do in preparation for swarming, not sure though). After the swarm, I opened the mother hive and saw a virgin plus a few more cells. She was being attacked by the workers. I left the cells and helped the virgin away from her attackers (they probably jumped on her again though). We'll just see what happens.

It was a relatively small swarm, so hopefully I can still get a surplus off the mother hive this year.

It sure was interesting to watch. I figure that what I lose in honey from this hive I'll make up for in learning more about bees.



I'm not sure what this would accomplish :scratch:
It's called an intervention.
Some folks can't resist doing something unnatural to the bees. :kn:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It should anchor the swarm down so they don't keep jumping ship.
Ah, ok. I thought you meant to shake out the original colony. It looks like the swarm has finally settled on the mating nuc as a new place of residence...so I'm just gonna leave them alone.
 
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